Cynopsis Media: 2015 Upfront Recap: 05/04/15




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Cynopsis Media: 2015 Upfront Recap


What a week! Announcements ranged from a Roots simulcast at A+E Networks to David Krumholtz playing a 76-year-old grandma for IFC to bowhunting integrations at Outdoor Sportsman Group and Snoop Dogg going linear on Revolt. Allow us to fill you in…


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April 29

A+E Networks

A+E Networks’ Upfront announcements included new events and new series on A&E, History, Lifetime and FYI. Coming up on A&E: Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit, putting personal trainers to the weight loss test, and The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and Critics’ Choice Television Awards. History launches survival experiment Alone this summer, and has scripted series Boys of 67 in development.

Event series Roots, a remake of the 1977 phenomenon, will be simulcast on History, A&E and Lifetime. Will Packer (Ride Along) exec produces, and original Roots cast member LeVar Burton is onboard as co-exec producer. “There is a huge audience of contemporary young Americans who do not know the story of Roots or its importance,” said Burton. “I believe now is the right time to tell this story so that we can all be reminded of its impact on our culture and identity.” Premiere is slated for 2016.

Unreal, a drama about the chaos behind the scenes at a dating show that is the first scripted series from A+E Studios, debuts on Lifetime June 1. Also joining Lifetime is Sing It! (wt), a docu-series about a cappella groups. In the wings at FYI: foodie series What the Fung?!, and spin-off docu-series Married at First Sight: The First Year.

“Content is at the heart of everything we do,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO, A+E Networks. “We aren’t afraid to take creative risks, which is the main ingredient in our recipe for change…We’ve started new genres; we’ve been the first and the best, time and time again. But the bar is always being raised, and we realize more than ever that good isn’t good enough. We need to create great. And that’s a good thing – because we’re a company of great creators.”

Outdoor Sportsman Group

Outdoor Sportsman Group shared Upfront plans for its Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks division, made up of Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network, at its NYC event Wednesday night. Jason Brist, EVP of ad sales, touted the nets’ unique relationship with their loyal audiences, as well as opportunities to entertain, inform and engage the 130 million-plus active outdoor adventure participants and armchair observers in the U.S. “Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network viewers are a diverse, passionate, media savvy and receptive segment of American consumers with spending power,” said Brist. “We’ve made dramatic strides in elevating our audience’s experience, on-air, online and on-the-go, and have created smart, ROI-driven marketing opportunities that truly resonate with those that choose to make outdoor pursuits a way of life; you can’t ‘buy around’ our highly engaged audience.”

Flexible and creative alternatives including TV Everywhere and OTT offerings were part of the pitch, as well as a cross-platform solution for ad partners interested in engaging with fans in the digital, mobile and social spaces. Advertisers can also tap into Outdoor Sportsman Group’s established Outdoor Sportsman Group Integrated Media arm, including publishing and digital brands like Petersen’s Bowhunting, North American Whitetail and Fly Fisherman, among others. Other integration opportunities include branded entertainment, sponsorships, product placements and stunts. “No other networks offering adventure entertainment can leverage multiple platforms to create powerful, contextual consumer-focused marketing solutions like we can,” said group president and CEO Jim Liberatore.



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April 28


IFC is heading into client meetings this Upfront season with a good story to tell: the channel is enjoying its fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, up 18 percent in 2014, according to Sales SVP Vanessa Benfield. “This year’s presentation has unlocked a lot of early RFP’s,” says Benfield. "We try harder.”

In addition to brand integrations, IFC is also offering clients custom interstitial stunts and pod-busting adjacencies to fit a range of messages and budgets.Yesterday, IFC announced its newest original, Gigi’s Bucket List, starring David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) as a 76-year-old widow who gains a new lease on life thanks to an unknown bank account in her husband’s will. “This character has been living inside me since birth,” said Krumholtz. “Friends have often accused me of acting like a grandma.” The comedy, produced by Grandma’s House of Entertainment with Krumholtz among the exec producers, starts shooting in June in LA for a 2015 premiere.

Gigi’s Bucket List joins signature IFC comedies Portlandia, Maron and Comedy Bang! Bang! on a net where humor is clearly its sweet spot. “Comedy is like rock music used to be,” comments EVP Marketing Blake Callaway. “You hear people talk about the comics they follow on Twitter in the way they used to talk about who they listen to.”



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April 24


Over 500 guests attended Revolt’s second annual Omnifront at Gotham Hall, where  the network, “the new #1 name in music,” unveiled new programming, announced significant milestones, and discussed its overall commitment to keeping things real.

Val Boreland, EVP, head of programming and production, announced that Revolt is teaming with Snoop Dogg to bring his popular YouTube show GGN “to linear television for the first time ever.” Another new show, Day Today, is a docu-series focusing on the music, career, and personal life of rapper Wiz Khalifa. The network also recently finalized an agreement with ESPN/XGames

“I asked myself, ‘What are you most proud of this first year?” says Revolt chairman Sean Combs, “and for me the biggest thing was that we delivered on our promises. Right now there aren’t a lot of music outlets creating authentic, unique content, and that’s one of the things we have: we are able to deliver the talent on-air, every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey, Editor
Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480
Classifieds Sales: Trish Pihonak | Director of Operations | 203-899-8459

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